St. Albans Car and Van Hire in the Markyate area

The Markyate area of Hertfordshire has had its fair share of claims to fame. Childhood home of bass player and songwriter Chris White, of 60s’ rock group The Zombies, their song Beechwood Park was named after an area in the south west of the village. The British actor Martin Benson, who starred in films such as Goldfinger, Cleopatra, Ivanhoe, and Angela’s Ashes, lived and died in the village. And parts of the film The Dirty Dozen were filmed in the village and surrounding areas.

The film The Wicked Lady (1945, remade by Michael Winner in 1983) was based on Markyate’s Kathleen Ferrers – a murderous highwaywoman who robbed stage coaches on Watling Street – the Roman Road, which is now the A5. During her time, this road was a major coaching stop on the highway from London to the Midlands, at one point having over forty inns and public houses.

The story goes that Kathleen – the Wicked Lady – used to get changed into her highwaywoman guise in a secret room in Markyate’s Tudor manor house, named the Markyate Cell. During one heist she was shot by the driver of the coach, and returned to the cell, where she was found the next morning in a pool of blood. It’s said that the room and staircase was bricked up, but the Wicked Lady still appears at the bricked up doorway on occasions.

There are also many other ghostly tales about the Wicked Lady, and many reports of her and her horse being seen on what is now the A5. Why not hire a vehicle from St. Albans Car and Van Hire and get yourself on a ghoul and ghost hunt – ideal for some Halloween fun!

Posted on September 17th 2014

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